Some cultures revere the red deer as a apparitional pull. In parts of Asia, antlers and their velvet ( a highly vascular skin that supplies oxygen and nutrients to the growing bone ) are used in traditional medicines. Elk are hunted as a game species ; the kernel is leaner and higher in protein than gripe or chicken ( Robb and Bethge 2001 ) .
The wapiti is a big ungulate animal of the Artiodactyla order ( artiodactyl ungulates ), possessing an even number of toes on each foot, similar to those of camels, goats, and cattle. In North America, males are called bulls, and females are called cows. In Asia, stag and hind, respectively, are sometimes used rather.
Reading: Elk – New World Encyclopedia
A herd of Roosevelt Elk in Redwood National and State Parks, California Elk are more than twice equally big as mule deer and have a more red hue to their hair color, ampere well as large, fan colored hindquarters patches and smaller tails. Moose are larger and darker than red deer, the bulls have distinctively different antlers, and elk do not herd. Elk cows average 225 kilograms ( 500 pounds ), stand 1.3 meters ( 4-1/2 feet ) at the shoulder, and are 2 meters ( 6-1/2 feet ) from nozzle to tail. Bulls are some 25 percentage larger than cows at maturity, weighing an average of 315 kilograms ( 650 pounds ), standing 1.5 meters ( 5 feet ) at the shoulder, and averaging 2.4 meters ( 8 feet ) in length ( RMEF 2007a ). The largest of the subspecies is the Roosevelt red deer, found west of the Cascade Range in the U.S. states of California, Oregon, and Washington, and in the canadian state of British Columbia. Roosevelt wapiti have been reintroduced into Alaska, where males have been recorded as weighing up to 590 kilograms ( 1,300 pounds ( Eide 1994 ). only the males elk have antlers, which start growing in the give and are shed each winter. The largest antlers may be 1.2 meters ( 4 feet ) farseeing and weigh 18 kilograms ( 40 pounds ) ( RMEF 2007b ) Antlers are made of bone, which can grow at a rate of 2.5 centimeters ( 1 inch ) per day. While actively growing, the antlers are covered with and protected by a soft layer of highly vascularize hide known as velvet. The velvet is shed in the summer when the antlers have amply developed. Bull wapiti may have six or more tines on each antler, however the count of tines has small to do with the senesce or maturity of a particular animal. The siberian and north american elk carry the largest antlers while the Altai wapiti have the smallest ( Geist 1998 ). The formation and memory of antlers is testosterone -driven ( FPLC 1998 ). After the breeding season in late fall, the level of pheromones released during estrus declines in the environment and the testosterone levels of males drop as a consequence. This drop in testosterone leads to the shed of antlers, normally in the early winter. Elk is a ruminant species, with a four-chambered stomach, and feeds on plants, grasses, leaves, and bark. During the summer, elk eat about constantly, consuming between 4.5 and 6.8 kilograms ( 10 to 15 pounds ) casual ( RMEF 2007c ). As a ruminant species, after food is swallowed, it is kept in the first bedroom for a while where it is partially digested with the help of microorganisms, bacteria, and protists. In this symbiotic relationship, the microorganism break down the cellulose in the plant substantial into carbohydrates, which the ungulate can digest. Both sides receive some benefit from this relationship. The microorganism get food and a place to live and the ungulate gets help oneself with its digestion. The partially digested food is then sent back up to the mouth where it is chewed again and sent on to the early parts of the abdomen to be completely digested. During the fall, elk grow a thick coat of hair’s-breadth, which helps to insulate them during the winter. Males, females and calves of siberian and north american wapiti all grow thick neck manes ; female and young Manchurian and Alashan wapiti do not ( Geist 1993 ). By early summer, the heavy winter coat has been shed, and elk are known to rub against trees and other objects to help remove hair’s-breadth from their bodies. All elk have large and clearly defined rump patches with shortstop tails. They have different coloration based on the seasons and types of habitats, with grey or light coloration prevailing in the winter and a more red, colored coat in the summer. Subspecies living in arid climates tend to have lighter colored coats than do those exist in forests ( Pisarowicz 2007 ). Most have lighter amber to orange-brown coats in contrast to dark brown hair on the principal, neck, and legs during the summer. Forest adapted Manchurian and Alashan red deer have darker red-brown coats with less contrast between the body coat and the perch of the body during the summer months ( Geist 1998 ). Calves are born spot, as is common with many deer species, and they lose their spots by the end of summer. manchurian red deer calves may retain a few orange spots on the back of their summer coats until they are older ( Geist 1998 ) .
bugling during the rut Bull elkduring the rut modern subspecies are considered to have descended from red deer that once inhabited Beringia, a steppe area between Asia and North America that connected the two continents during the Pleistocene. Beringia provided a migrant route for numerous mammal species, including brown bear, caribou, and elk, american samoa well as humans ( Flannery 2001 ). As the Pleistocene came to an end, ocean levels began to rise ; elk migrated southwards into Asia and North America. In North America, they adapted to about all ecosystems except for tundra, true deserts, and the gulf coast of what is now the U.S. The elk of southerly Siberia and cardinal Asia were once more far-flung but today are restricted to the batch ranges west of Lake Baikal including the Sayan and Altai Mountains of Mongolia and the Tianshan region that borders Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, and China ‘s Xinjiang Province ( IUCN 2007 ). The habitat of siberian elk in Asia is similar to that of the Rocky Mountain subspecies in North America. Throughout their scope, they live in afforest and in forest edge habitat, exchangeable to other deer species. In mountainous regions, they frequently dwell at higher elevations in summer, migrating down slope for winter. The highly adaptable wapiti besides populate semi-deserts in North America, such as the Great Basin. manchurian and Alashan wapiti are primarily afforest dwellers and their smaller antler size is a probable adaptation to a forest environment .
Bull wapiti on a captive range in Nebraska. These wapiti, in the first place from Rocky Mountain herds, exhibit modified behavior due to having been held in enslavement. The Rocky Mountain red deer subspecies has been reintroduced by hunter-conservation organizations in the appalachian region of the eastern United States, where the now extinct Eastern red deer once lived ( Fitzgerald 2007 ). After wapiti were reintroduced in the states of Kentucky, North Carolina, and Tennessee, they migrated into the adjacent states of Virginia and West Virginia, and have established permanent populations there ( Ledford 2005 ). Elk have besides been reintroduced to a number of other states, including Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin. As of 1989, population figures for the Rocky Mountain subspecies were 782,500, and estimated numbers for all north american subspecies exceeded 1 million ( Peek 2007 ). Prior to the european colonization of North America, there were an estimated 10 million wapiti on the continent ( RMEF 2007a ). Worldwide population of red deer, counting those on farms and in the baseless, is approximately 2 million. Outside their native habitat, wapiti and other deer species were introduced in areas that previously had few if any big native ungulates. Brought to these countries for hunt and ranch for kernel, hides, and antler velvet, they have proven highly adaptable and have frequently had an adverse impact on local anesthetic ecosystems. Elk and crimson deer were introduced to Argentina and Chile in the early on twentieth hundred. There they are now considered an encroaching species, encroaching on argentinian ecosystems where they compete for food with the autochthonal Chilean Huemul and other herbivores ( Galende et alabama. 2005 ). This negative impact on native animal species has led the IUCN to identify the red deer as one of the world ‘s 100 worst invaders ( Flueck 2007 ). Both elk and red deer have besides been introduced to Ireland and Australia ( Corbet and Harris 1996 ). The introduction of deer to New Zealand began in the middle of the nineteenth century, and current populations are primarily european red deer, with only 15 percentage being wapiti ( DF 2003 ). These deer have had an adverse impact on forest regeneration of some plant species, as they consume more palatable species, which are replaced with those that are less favored by the elk. The long term impact will be an change of the types of plants and trees found, and in other animal and plant species dependent upon them ( Husheer 2007 ). As in Chile and Argentina, the IUCN has declared that bolshevik deer and wapiti populations in New Zealand are an incursive species ( Flueck 2007 ) .
Adult elk normally stay in single-sex groups for most of the year. During the felt period known as the furrow, mature bulls compete for the attentions of the cows and will try to defend females in their harem. rival bulls challenge opponents by bellowing and by paralleling each other, walking back and forth. This allows potential combatants to assess the others ‘ antlers, body size, and fighting art. If neither bull backs down, they engage in antler wrestling, and bulls sometimes sustain serious injuries. Bulls besides dig holes in the prime, in which they urinate and roll their consistency. The urine soaks into their hair and gives them a clear-cut smell that attracts cows ( Walker 2007 ). Dominant bulls follow groups of cows during the estrus, from August into early winter. A talk through one’s hat will defend his harem of 20 cows or more from competing bulls and predators ( SDDGFP 2007 ). only mature bulls have big harems and breeding success peaks at about eight years of age. Bulls between two to four years and over 11 years of age rarely have harems and spend most of the rut on the periphery of larger harem. Young and erstwhile bulls that do acquire a harem restrain it late in the breed season than do bulls in their prime. A bull with a harem rarely feeds and he may lose up to 20 percentage of his soundbox weight. Bulls that enter the rut in hapless condition are less likely to make it through to the point creation period or have the strength to survive the rigors of the oncoming winter ( Walker 2007 ). Bulls have a forte voice consisting of screams known as bugling, which can be heard for miles. Bugling is frequently associated with an adaptation to open environments such as parklands, meadows, and savannas, where sound can travel great distances. Females are attracted to the males that bugle more frequently and have the loudest call ( Thomas and Toweill 2002 ). Bugling is most park early and late in the day and is one of the most distinctive sounds in nature, akin to the howl of the grey beast .
Female breastfeed unseasoned. Female wapiti have a short estrus bicycle of only a day or two and matings normally involve a twelve or more attempts. By the drop of their second gear year, females can produce one and, identical rarely, two offspring, though reproduction is most coarse when cows weigh at least 200 kilograms ( 450 pounds ) ( Sell 2007 ). The gestation period is 240 to 262 days and the offspring weigh between 15 and 16 kilograms ( 33 to 35 pounds ). When the females are near to giving parentage, they tend to isolate themselves from the main herd, and will remain disjunct until the calf is bombastic adequate to escape predators ( WDFW 2007 ). Calves are born descry, as is common with many deer species, and they lose their spots by the end of summer. manchurian red deer may retain a few orange spots on the back of their summer coats until they are older. After two weeks, calves are able to join the herd and are in full weaned at two months of age ( MMMZ 2007 ). Elk calves weigh a much as an adult white-tailed deer by the clock time they are six months old ( WERP 2007 ). The offspring will remain with their mothers for about a year, leaving about the meter that the future temper ‘s offspring are produced ( Thomas and Toweill 2002 ). The gestation time period is the same for all subspecies. Elk live 20 years or more in captivity but average 10 to 13 years in the wild. In some subspecies that suffer less predation, they may live an average of 15 years in the wild ( NPS 2007 ) .
protection from predators
male wapiti retain their antlers for more than half the year and are less probable to group with other males when they have antlers. Antlers provide a mean of defense, as does a strong front-leg kick, which is performed by either sexual activity if provoked. Once the antlers have been shed, bulls tend to form bachelor groups which allow them to work hand in glove at fending off predators. Herds tend to employ one or more scouts while the remaining members eat and rest ( Thomas and Toweill 2002 ). After the rut, females form large herds of up to 50 individuals. Newborn calves are kept cheeseparing by a series of vocalizations ; larger nurseries have an ongoing and constant chew the fat during the day hours. When approached by predators, the largest and most robust females may make a stand, using their front legs to kick at their attackers. guttural grunts and model are used with big effectiveness with all but the most determine of predators. apart from valet, wolf and coyote packs and the alone cougar are the most likely predators, although brown university, grey, and black bears besides prey on elk ( Thomas and Toweill 2002 ). In the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, which includes Yellowstone National Park, bears are the most meaning predators of calves ( Barber et aluminum. 2005 ). major predators in Asia include the wolf, dhole, brown bear, siberian tiger, Amur leopard, and snow leopard. eurasian lynx and wild wild boar sometimes prey on the asian wapiti ( Geist 1998 ) .
Elk wintering in Jackson Hole, Wyoming after migrating there during the accrue The Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem elk herd numbers over 200,000 individuals and, during the bounce and fall, they take part in the longest red deer migration in the continental U.S. Elk in the southerly regions of Yellowstone National Park and in the surrounding National Forests migrate south towards the township of Jackson, Wyoming where they winter for up to six months on the National Elk Refuge. Conservationists there ensure the ruck is well fed during the harsh winters ( USFWS 2007 ). many of the red deer that reside in the northern sections of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem migrate to lower altitudes in Montana, chiefly to the union and west. As is on-key for many species of deer, specially those in mountainous regions, elk migrate into areas of higher elevation in the spring, following the retreating snows, and the reverse direction in the fall. Hunting pressure besides impacts migration and movements ( Jenkins 2001 ). During the winter, they favor wooded areas and sheltered valleys for protection from the wind and handiness of tree bark to eat. Roosevelt wapiti are broadly non-migratory due to less seasonal worker variability of food sources ( Thomas and Toweill 2002 ).
Brainworm (Parelaphostrongylus tenuis) is a parasitic nematode that has been known to affect the spinal anesthesia cord and genius tissue of wapiti, leading to end. The nematode has a aircraft carrier in the white-tailed deer in which it normally has no ill effects. however, it is carried by snails, which can be unwittingly consumed by wapiti during browse ( Fergus 2007 ). chronic Wasting Disease affects the brain tissue in red deer and has been detected throughout their range in North America. First documented in the recently 1960s in mule deer, the disease has affected red deer on plot farms and in the wild in a numeral of regions. elk that have contracted the disease begin to show weight passing, increased watering needs, disorientation and listlessness, and at an advance stage the disease leads to death. The disease is like to but not the lapp as Mad Cow Disease, and no dangers to humans have been documented, nor has the disease been demonstrated to pose a threat to domesticated cattle ( RMEF 2007d ). In 2002, South Korea banned the import of red deer antler velvet due to concerns about chronic neutralize disease ( Hansen 2006 ). Brucellosis occasionally affect wapiti in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, the merely place in the U.S. where the disease is still known to exist. In domesticated cattle, brucellosis causes sterility, abortions, and reduce milk production. It is transmitted to humans as undulatory fever, producing flu-like symptoms that may last for years. Though bison are more likely to transmit the disease to other animals, elk unwittingly transmitted brucellosis to horses in Wyoming and cattle in Idaho. Researchers are attempting to eradicate the disease through vaccinations and ruck management measures, which are expected to be successful ( USDA 2007 ) .
Naming and etymology
While the term “ red deer ” refers to Cervus canadensis in North America, the term elk refers to Alces alces in English-speaking Europe, a deer that is known as “ elk ” in North America. The american indian “ waapiti, ” meaning “ white buttocks ” and used by the Shawnees for this animal, has come to be a discussion, as “ red deer, ” that can more clearly spot Cervus canadensis. early european explorers to North America, who were conversant with the smaller crimson deer of Europe, believed that the much larger north american animal looked more like a elk, hence they used the common european name for the elk. The name elk is from the german give voice for elk, which is elch ( PEH 2007 ). The wapiti is besides referred to as the maral in Asia, though this is due to confusion with the cardinal asian bolshevik deer, which is a very like species .
Elk ancestors of the Cervus genus first gear appear in the dodo read 12 million years ago, during the Pliocene in Eurasia, but they do not appear in the north american english dodo record until the belated Pleistocene ice ages, when they apparently crossed the Bering kingdom bridge ( USGS 2006 ). The extinct Irish Elk (Megaloceros) was not a member of the genus Cervus, but quite the largest member of the wide deer family ( Cervidae ) known from the dodo record ( Gould 1977 ). There are numerous subspecies of wapiti. Some recognize six subspecies from North America in holocene historical times and five from Asia, although some taxonomists consider them different ecotypes or races of the same species ( adapted to local environments through minor changes in appearance and demeanor ). Populations vary as to antler shape and size, body size, coloration and copulate behavior. DNA investigations of the eurasian subspecies revealed that phenotypical variation in antlers, mane and rump eyepatch development are based on “ climatic-related life style factors ” ( Groves 2005 ) .
Eastern Elk” which is now extinctAudubon ‘s “” which is now extinct Of the six subspecies of elk considered to have inhabited North America in late times, four stay, including the Roosevelt (C. canadensis roosevelti), Tule (C. canadensis nannodes), Manitoban (C. canadensis manitobensis), and Rocky Mountain (C. canadensis nelsoni) ( Keck 2007 ). The eastern red deer (C. canadensis canadensis) and Merriam ‘s red deer (C. canadensis merriami) subspecies have been extinct for at least a hundred ( Gerhart 2007 ; Allen 2007 ). classification of the four surviving north american groups as subspecies is maintained, at least partially, for political purposes to permit personalize conservation and protective measures for each of the surviving populations ( Geist 1993 ). Five subspecies found in Asia include the Altai (C. canadensis sibiricus), the Tianshan (C. canadensis songaricus), and the asian red deer (C. canadensis asiaticus), besides known as the siberian elk. Two classifiable subspecies found in China and Korea are the manchurian (C. canadensis xanthopygus) and the Alashan wapiti (C. canadensis alashanicus). The manchurian wapiti is darker and more red in coloration than the other populations. The Alashan wapiti of north cardinal China is the smallest of all subspecies, has the lightest coloration and is the least studied ( Geist 1998 ). Valerius Geist, who has written on the world ‘s diverse deer species, holds that there are only three subspecies of elk. Geist maintains the manchurian and Alashan wapiti but places all early elk into C. canadensis canadensis ( Geist 1993 ) .
deoxyribonucleic acid research
Until 2004, red deer and elk were considered to be one species, Cervus elaphus, based on prolific hybrids that have been produced in enslavement. recent deoxyribonucleic acid studies, conducted on hundreds of samples from crimson deer and elk subspecies vitamin a well as early species of the Cervus deer class, showed that there are three discrete species, dividing them into the east asian and north american elk ( red deer ) (C. canadensis), the central asian bolshevik deer (C. affinis), and the European red deer (C. elaphus) ( Ludt et aluminum. 2004 ). The former classification had over a twelve subspecies under the C. elaphus species designation ; DNA evidence concludes that wapiti are more close related to central asian crimson deer and even sika deer than they are to the red deer ( Ludt et alabama. 2004 ). Though wapiti and red deer can produce prolific offspring in captivity, geographic isolation between the species in the rampantly and differences in mating behaviors indicate that reproduction between them outside a control environment would be improbable ( Geist 1998 ) .
Elk have played an authoritative function in the cultural history of a number of peoples. Pictograms and petroglyph of red deer were carved into cliffs thousands of years ago by the Anasazi of the southwestern United States. More recent native american english tribes, including the Kootenai, Cree, Ojibwa, and Pawnee, produced blankets and robes from red deer hides. The wapiti was of particular importance to the Lakota and played a apparitional role in their club ( RMEF 2007e ). At birth, Lakota males were given an elk ‘s tooth to promote a long life since that was seen as the concluding depart of dead elk to rot away. The elk was seen as having potent sexual potency and young Lakota males who had dreamed of elk would have an image of the fabulous representation of the wapiti on their “ courting coats ” as a gestural of sexual art. The Lakota believed that the fabulous or spiritual red deer, not the physical one, was the teacher of men and the shape of military capability, intimate art, and courage ( Halder 2002 ). neolithic age petroglyph from Asia portray antler-less female wapiti, which have been interpreted as symbolizing conversion and support. By the beginning of the Bronze Age, the red deer is depicted less frequently in rock art, coinciding with a cultural transformation away from hunting ( Jacobson 1993 ) .
Bull wapiti in bounce are shedding their winter coats, and their antlers are covered in velvet Elks have traditionally been hunted for food, sport, and their hides. For thousands of years, elk hides have been used for tepee cover, blankets, dress, and footwear. modern uses are more cosmetic, but red deer skin shoes, gloves, and belts are sometimes produced. Elk are held in enslavement for a diverseness of reasons. Hunting interests set aside game farms, where hunters can pay a fee and have a greatly increased find to shoot an elk, as they are fenced in and have less opportunity to escape. They are not generally harvested for kernel production on a large scale ; however, some restaurants offer the kernel as a peculiarity detail and it is besides available in some grocery stores. Elk meat has a taste somewhere between beef and venison and is higher in protein and lower in fat than either beef or chicken ( Wapiti.net 2007 ). Elk kernel is besides a good source of iron, phosphorus, and zinc, but is high in cholesterol ( ND 2007 ). A male wapiti can produce 10 to 11 kilograms ( 22 to 25 pounds ) of antler velvet annually. On ranches in the United States, Canada, and New Zealand, this velvet is collected and sold to markets in east Asia, where it is used in medicine. Velvet is besides considered by some cultures to be an aphrodisiac. Antlers besides are used in artwork, furniture, and early knickknack items. All asian subspecies, along with other deer, have been raised for their antlers in cardinal and easterly Asia by Han Chinese, Turkic peoples, Tungusic peoples, Mongolians, and Koreans. Elk farms are relatively common in North America and New Zealand. Since 1967, the Boy Scouts of America have assisted employees at the National Elk Refuge in Wyoming by collecting the antlers that are shed each winter. The antlers are then auctioned with most of the proceeds returned to the refuge. In 2006, 3,200 kilograms ( 7,060 pounds ) of antlers were auctioned, bringing in about USD $ 76,000. Another 980 kilograms ( 2,160 pounds ) were sold directly for local anesthetic use, restoring some cosmetic arches in the Jackson Town Square ( USFWS 2006 ) .
- Erxleben, J.C.P. ( 1777 ) Anfangsgründe five hundred Naturlehre and Systema regni animalis .
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